Jesus is not the only suffering servant

In the book of Isaiah there are four "Suffering Servant songs" in which the the poet speaks of a servant of God who is called to lead but is abused and destroyed. For Christians these songs are read and then quickly assume these songs are talking about Jesus. And it is easy to see connections between the "suffering servant" and the story of Jesus. (One has to wonder how much of the story of Jesus was crafted in order to "fulfill" these songs, but that is a topic for another day.)

I am not saying that these songs are not pointing to the messiah, but that these songs are not limited to just the messiah. Put another way, there is not one suffering servant.

Many Jewish traditions hold that in fact the suffering servant is not a person but a people. The people of Israel are the suffering servant. As a people, the Israelite are to be God's leaders but are mocked and suffer and self sacrifice in order to redeem the world. There is the old story that when God made the world light was broken into pieces and shattered all over the world. The call of the Jew is to go into the world and find the light and repair it. Jews are to be the ones to model for the rest of the world how to be in right relationship with one another and with God. Jews are to be light finders.

I am speaking out of turn a bit because I am not Jewish. I am Christian and as such my tradition teaches that the suffering servant is Jesus Christ. True. However, it is also true that right now, you and I make up the body of Christ. We are God's hands and feet. We are all members of the same body of which Christ is the head. 

If we are all members of the body of Christ, and Christ is the suffering servant then my extension we are called to be the suffering servants. 

Jesus is not he only suffering servant.

So are we.